News / Europe

Ukraine's PM to Meet With Obama

Ukraine's PM Meets With Obamai
March 12, 2014 4:08 AM
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday, days before a referendum in Crimea where a Russian-speaking majority is likely to bring the strategic peninsula under Moscow's control. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is meeting with President Barack Obama Wednesday, days before a referendum in Crimea where a Russian-speaking majority is likely to bring the strategic peninsula under Moscow's control. Analysts say the meeting will not stop the referendum, which is set for Sunday, but warn of the urgency of stopping Russia from moving on to other Russian-populated regions of the former Soviet Union. 
Russia has made it clear that a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of the Sunday referendum will have little effect on its plans to take control of the Crimean region.  Washington-based political analyst Peter Eltsov said that no matter what official name it will assume, Crimea is lost to Ukraine. He added Ukraine has to fight to prevent any Russian attempt to move further.
"It's the biggest fear of the new Ukrainian government and it is quite likely - depending of course on the political situation - that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will try to go to certain parts of eastern Ukraine.  We need to remember that there is no direct by-land connection between Russia and the Crimean peninsula," said Eltsov.
Stephen Blank, an analyst with the American Foreign Policy Council, agreed. He also placed blame on the European Union for a lax response to Russia's move to take over the strategic peninsula. 
"There have been no real organized economic sanctions on Russia; there have been no systematic strategic military actions to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself; and if I were Mr. Putin I would think I’ve gotten away with it.  I don’t think he will in the end, but I think up till now there has been too little action, and whatever action there has been, has been uncoordinated," said Blank.
Yatsenyuk's visit to Washington has another significant purpose; Eltsov said the interim government in Kyiv needs U.S. economic support to survive, and the political support to block Moscow from advancing further into Ukraine's territory. Eltsov added that for now, Russian-speaking populations in eastern Ukraine seem to reject Russian intervention, but that the mood can quickly change.
"The identity really is a fluid category, as anthropolgists say. It depends on the situation, in particular in case of war like we saw, for example, in the former Yugoslavia.  Those issues can really change and switch between sides really fast - overnight - depending on rumors, depending on particular political developments.  This is a very dangerous situation," said Eltsov.
Eltsov also said Putin seems intent on reviving some of the former Russian Empire as his legacy, and if he is not stopped, he will attempt to bring back under Moscow's control other Russian-populated areas, for example in Kazakhstan.
"It is not impossible that given the political situation he would want to take a chunk of northern Kazakhstan, which is populated mostly by Russians. But that would be, of course, a much more difficult enterprise," said Eltsov.
Eltsov said the best guarantee against Russian aggression is a NATO presence in vulnerable areas. He thinks Russia is not likely to invade NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, despite their sizeable Russian-speaking populations. 
"The country which is not militarily allied and has a very weak military of its own, and is in such financial chaos, is definitely a very easy target," said Eltsov.
Last week, the U.S. government authorized sanctions, including visa restrictions, against those found to have violated Ukraine's territorial integrity. The European Union also took measures against Russia, suspending talks on visas and a new economic agreement.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
March 13, 2014 2:58 AM
Obama needs to get in first. He wants to be the chief puppeteer before the E.U tries to pull the strings. He should tell him that he cannot trust the C.I.A as even the American Senate cannot. What will we see next... the waterboarding of Senators?

by: Mario from: Germany
March 12, 2014 2:33 AM
EU seems to approve Russian incursion in any part of world but EU. Europe,especially Germany,has a strong economic ties with Russia,so Ukraine is not worth of breaking it up. But very soon, Germany, EU and America will find out that they are under threat... Russia will not stop. How can EU and America trade with Russia when Russia declared it would confiscate all firms and property of EU and USA in case of sanctions???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs